TORONTO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Canada's second largest airline WestJet Airlines Ltd. said on Monday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Onex Corporation.
WestJet announced the all-cash transaction valued at 5 billion Canadian dollars (about 3.7 billion U.S. dollars) in a joint statement with Onex.
Onex approached the airline in March, according to the statement. The deal is expected to close in the latter part of 2019 or early 2020.
WestJet started in Calgary, Canada in 1996 and has expanded from a low-cost domestic airline to an international carrier with flights to the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.
"Since our first flight in 1996, WestJet has been singularly focused on providing better options for the Canadian traveling public and this transaction retains that commitment," said Clive Beddoe, WetJet's Founder and Chairman.
Tawfiq Popatia, a Managing Director at Onex, said "WestJet is renowned internationally for its unparalleled guest experience and employee culture. We're thrilled to be partnering with WestJetters and continuing this remarkable Canadian success story."
Onex, founded in Toronto in 1984, reportedly manages 31 billion Canadian dollars (about 23 billion U.S. dollars) in assets, featuring a diverse range of businesses including Cineplex.